The amount of CO2 production financed by Britain’s banks and asset managers is almost double the UK’s annual carbon emissions, according to a new report.
The study, published by environmental campaign groups Greenpeace and WWF, shows that the city made loans and investments for projects and companies that emitted 805 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019. That’s 1.8 times the UK’s annual net emissions. for the same year, they totaled 455 million tons after discounting aviation and maritime transport, sectors that the UK government also does not include in its emissions calculations.
It singles out the finance industry as one of the UK’s biggest contributors to the climate crisis, and means that if the city were its own country, it would surpass Germany as the world’s ninth largest CO2 emitter. Germany was responsible for emitting 776 million tonnes of carbon in 2018, according to the latest available data.
WWF and Greenpeace are calling on the government to introduce new regulations that align the sector with the goals of the Paris agreement, which aim to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels.
Greenpeace UK Chief Executive John Sauven said the UK could not turn a blind eye to the City’s contribution to the climate crisis, particularly ahead of this year’s ‘pivotal’ COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow. , scheduled for November.
“Finance is the UK’s dirty little secret,” Sauven said. “Banks and investors are responsible for more issues than most nations, and the UK government is giving them a free pass. How can we say that we are ‘leading the world in climate action’ while allowing financial institutions to invest billions in the production of fossil fuels each year? The claim is almost ridiculous. “
The analysis, conducted by climate solutions firm South Pole, measured lending and investment activities in the UK financial sector, based on a sample of 15 banks and 10 asset managers.
Over the weekend, the G7 group of the world’s richest advanced nations made fresh pledges to end direct government support for overseas coal projects before the end of the year. It came just days after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said there could be no new investments in oil, gas and coal starting this year, if the authorities are serious about meeting the net zero emissions target for 2050.
A spokesman for UK Finance banking lobby group said lenders were taking their “responsibility to society at large” very seriously and were taking a “leading role in the shift towards zero net financing.” Last month, the six largest lenders in the UK pledged to achieve net zero emissions from their portfolios by 2050 or earlier, as part of the UN’s new Net Zero Banking Alliance.
“The industry will continue to work with others to help mobilize capital in a way that takes into account the environmental and local community needs,” UK Finance said.
Top 10 CO2 emitters and where the city would fit
Annual CO2 emissions by gigatonne (Gt) or megatonne (Mt):
1 China: 11.71 Gt
2 United States: 5.79Gt
3 India: 3.35 Gt
4 Russia: 1.99 Gt
5 Indonesia: 1.70 Gt
6 Brazil: 1.42 Gt
7 Japan: 1.15 Gt
8 Iran: 828.34Mt
9 UK financial industry: 805Mt *
10 Germany: 776.61Mt
* Note: CO2 equivalent emissions related to UK banks and assets financing of project managers and companies in 2019, calculated by South Pole. Country calculations are based on the most recent data, which is from 2018.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism